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Jewish World Review Oct. 8, 2003 / 12 Tishrei, 5764

Dick Morris

Dick Morris
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Barbarians at the gates


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | How did Arnold Schwarzenegger get to become governor of California

How did Wesley Clark come out of nowhere to lead the pack seeking the Democratic nomination?

How has Howard Dean been able to parlay the Internet into fund-raising that surpasses the entire field of traditional Democratic pros?

Why has President Bush slipped so dramatically in the polls?

Each event is part of a popular uprising against the political class that governs America. Voters realize, correctly, that our nation's politicians are a self-serving, self-perpetuating oligarchy that rules us with scant regard for our concerns and interests.

This professional group of leaders is as removed from the lives and problems of average Americans as are generals and priests. Like them, politicians are absorbed in a world of their own which operates along its own rules and promotes from within those most likely to perpetuate their own power.

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Several relatively recent trends have hardened their domination of the political system:

  • The centralization of fund-raising in national party committees has virtually obviated the selection of candidates in direct primaries, returning us to the days when party bosses made the choices in smoke-filled rooms. By dominating and channeling the flow of funds, our modern bosses have virtually stripped us of the powers won in the political reforms of 1972.

  • The reapportionment of 2002 designed congressional districts that favored incumbents of both parties, leaving virtually no room for challengers to be elected. Of 435 members of the House of Representatives, only four incumbents lost to nonincumbents of the other party. In all, 96 percent of incumbents were re-elected. (It was only 90 percent in 1992 and 1982 after the previous reapportionments.)

  • The cost of campaigning has skyrocketed in recent years because of the falloff in TV viewership. With only one-third as many people watching TV as did 20 years ago, politicians have responded by buying three times as many ads, driving the cost of campaigning to levels which only favored candidates can afford.

Voters understand that the money-dominated political system has effectively stripped them of their sovereignty, handing it to the hidden power of financial, special-interest, and party oligarchies on both sides of the aisle.

We are back in the 1890s, when the Senate could be said to represent, not states, but interests like Standard Oil, United Fruit and U.S. Steel. But now the interests that control seats are the Christian right, the AFL-CIO, the AMA, the NRA, the trial lawyers, the Fortune 500, the Israel lobby, the insurance industry, bankers and a handful of others.

This realization has spawned an "off with their heads" mentality among voters (the title of my last book) which has the same lack of selectivity as the guillotine of the French Revolution, but also packs the same wallop.

The Dean candidacy offers the surest of solutions to this oligarchic monopoly - the use of the Internet to overcome the advantages which money and media can confer on the incumbents. The former Vermont governor is proving that the Internet is a better, cheaper, and faster way to raise money than the old glad-handing of special interests and fat cat donors.

He's also about to demonstrate that the Internet is a better place to spend campaign dollars than are TV stations and media time buys. The fact that Internet communications is free makes one-on-one retail politics more effective, more rapid, and less costly than mass communication.

No campaign-finance reform can rectify the special-interest and wealth-donor domination of the political process or the power this system confers on party bosses. But the shift of campaigning from TV to the Internet will and is accomplishing the same goal.

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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, Off with Their Heads: Traitors, Crooks & Obstructionists in American Politics, Media & Business" Comment by clicking here.

Up

10/03/03: Get ready for Iran's drive to be national suicide bomber
10/01/03: Dean's E-reform
09/26/03: An open letter to Karl Rove
09/24/03: Why Clark will fade
09/18/03: Terror fears fade too fast
09/10/03: As Dubya sinks, Al & Hill scheme
08/25/03: Bias-mongers on rocks as viewers taste straight news
08/14/03: Arnold & Dean's political revolution
08/08/03: Hillary Clinton might not want to wait until 2008
08/06/03: Revolution
07/24/03: As Bush falters, watch Hil run
07/21/03: Peace dominoes begin to fall
07/17/03: Let's hear the good news
07/14/03: Sending troops to Liberia could be a bridge too far
07/10/03: McGovern II
07/07/03: French: Toast
07/03/03: At moment of truth, Hillary turns backwards
06/27/03: And now the dominos begin to fall
06/25/03: W's triangulation
06/23/03: Presidents often fall victim to their own success: Some advice for the president
06/18/03: Times not a-changing
06/13/03: Why did Hillary write the book?
06/11/03: Will the Rev go rogue?
06/05/03: Napoleon's maneuvers at Austerlitz have nothing on prez's
06/02/03: Prez's tax-cut catch-22 for Dems
05/29/03: Liberal author documents Clinton's wasted second term
05/16/03: Early Democrat handicapping for 2004
05/14/03: Gephardt: AWOL
04/30/03: Prez can lose
04/25/03: My message to Putin: Call President Bush
04/23/03: NO OIL FOR BLOOD
04/21/03: The war that network news lost in Iraq
04/15/03: Media meltdown
04/10/03: Giving government a good name
04/03/03: Polls' message to Bush: Relax and win the war
03/31/03: Bomb as you need
03/28/03: The strong grow weak through inhibition
03/26/03: Carping pessimism of TV anchors and interviewers fails to give Americans a sense of defeatism
03/17/03: Poll: Get on with it
03/13/03: It's time for U.S. to play hardball at U.N.
03/10/03: The whole (Hispanic) world is watching
03/07/03: Anti-war errors
03/05/03: Domino theory II: Toppling Mideast despots
03/03/03: Europe's triangulators: Chirac and Blair
02/27/03: Invasion? More like a coup
02/21/03: The first casualty of Iraq war: Liberal credibility
02/19/03: Old Europe's last hurrah
02/14/03: Corzine throws down gauntlet on Wall St. fraud
02/12/03: An exile deal for Saddam
02/07/03: The Dems give up the House
02/05/03: France: Saddam's ally
02/03/03: War critics will suffer
02/30/03: Even by Clinton standards, it's sheer chutzpah
01/24/03: Rebirth of the balanced budget Republican
01/22/03: Next to Bubba, Dubya's got it good
01/16/03: End racism in affirmative action
01/13/03: The new swing voter
01/10/03: Political e-mailing comes of age
01/07/03: In Dem race: Home field no advantage
12/31/02: Hey, Hillary: Want to appear like a stateswomyn? Stay silent
12/19/02: Kerry in the lead
12/19/02: Lieberman the frontrunner
12/17/02: In defense of Lott
12/02/02: An issue for Bush: Drugs
11/27/02: Women gone wobbly?
11/25/02: The U.N. over a barrel
11/15/02: Gore's suicide
11/15/02 One-party control is an illusion
11/13/02 The House of Extremes
11/08/02 I have egg on my face
11/01/02 Is Bush losing control over events?
10/25/02What is causing Bush's free fall?
10/25/02: Anybody sense a trend?
10/23/02: A deadline for Iraq
10/18/02: Only sure bet of 2002 elections is voter angst
10/16/02: Endangered incumbents
10/11/02: Why multilateralism doesn't work
10/09/02: Hey, Dems: Believe NYTimes polling at your own risk
10/03/02: Dem suicide: Let's count the ways
09/30/02: The Dems just can't stop themselves
09/26/02: The perils of polling
09/19/02: W. boxed in the U.N.
09/19/02: Welfare reform: Keep on keeping on
09/12/02: Are Dems insane on Iraq?
09/09/02: Twin shadows of Election '02
09/05/02: GOP should triangulate
08/28/02: Trust the military
08/22/02: It's not the economy, stupid
08/09/02: As America unites, Gore goes divisive
08/01/02: Bush must focus on big picture
07/23/02: Election 2002: Advantage Dems
07/19/02: Rudy for SEC tough cop
07/17/02: The investor strike
07/15/02: Door open for drug testing students --- go for it, GOP!
07/12/02: Dubya looking out for No. 1?
07/03/02: The DNA war for Bush's soul
06/21/02: Why are conservatives winning?
06/19/02: Learning to love the feds
06/14/02: Hey, journalists and Dems: Dubya is doing just fine
06/12/02: It's terrorism, stupid!
06/10/02: Sanctions are a potent weapon
06/04/02: Al Qaeda's more dangerous new front
05/31/02: Why '04 looks tough for liberal Dems
05/24/02: Democratic self-destruction
05/22/02: The Clinton failures
05/15/02: Pataki positioned to win
05/08/02: A wakeup-call for American Jewry
05/03/02: Give Bush back his focus
05/01/02: Immigration fault li(n)es
04/25/02: It's the war, stupid
04/17/02: Bush goes small bore
04/12/02: Bush must be a gentle partisan
04/10/02: In defense of polling
04/08/02: Focus on Iraq, not the Palestinians
04/01/02: Only Internet will bring real campaign finance reform
03/27/02: Where W's drawn a line in the sand
03/22/02: Enron scandal will not trigger a wave of economic populism
03/20/02: Term-limited --- by war
03/15/02: Europe doesn't have a clue
03/11/02: Bush popularity = GOP win?
03/01/02: Will America be forced to chase its tail in its war on terrorism?
02/27/02: The Arafat/Saddam equilibrium must be destroyed
02/21/02: Campaign finance reform won't hurt GOPers
02/13/02: Dodd scurries for cover
02/11/02: U.S. 'unilateralism'? The Europeans don't have a case
02/06/02: WAR: What women want
02/01/02: They all talk in the end
01/30/01: The odd couple: Chris Dodd and Arthur Andersen
01/22/01: His father's son? Bush better get an 'Act II' fast!
01/18/01: Dubya & the 'vision thing'
01/14/01: The Rumsfeld Doctrine 01/03/01: A President Gore would have been a disaster
01/03/02: Clinton's priority: Political correctness over fighting terror
12/27/01: Terror network grew out of Clinton's inaction, despite warnings
12/24/01: Call 'em back, George
12/18/01: What Bush did right
12/13/01: Libs worry too much
12/11/01: "Open Sesame": Feinstein's proposed bill allows 100,000 non-immigrant students from anti-American countries to our shores
12/07/01: The non-partisan president
12/05/01: Both parties are phony on stimulus debate
11/29/01: When terrorists can enter legally, it's time to change the laws
11/21/01: Go for the jugular!
11/16/01: You are all incumbents
11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history

© 2003, Dick Morris